tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC August 31, 2010 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT
leaving even his opponent in awe. plus, an oval office makeover. the president's new look for the famous office, how will it go over? welling you decide. good day, i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. hurricane earl pushing its way toward the atlantic coast. here's what we know right now. meteorologists are growing increasingly concerned that earl will have a significant impact on the east coast beginning thursday night in north carolina. any direct landfall in the united states is still unlikely, according to the latest reports. earl is expected to move along the eastern seaboard through friday. and earl is a fast-moving storm. it should make its way past america's shores for a sunny labor day weekend, we hope. bryan norcross, hurricane specialist with the weather channel. thanks for joining us. where is the storm currently tracking. >> the storm's down well to the south but on track, as you say, heading in the general direction of the mid-atlantic coast. we don't see any reason that it's not going to arrive in this general area, as we go through
the day on thursday with the weather deteriorating during the day and then really getting the worst of it there in that vicinity thursday night. let's take a look at the track with still 1 35-mile-an-hour-windsen and the projected track we talk about. you see increasing, perhaps, in strength, a little bit stronger, 140, maybe 145, 150 miles an hour near the bahamas and decrease in strength but a formidable hurricane up the east coast. does it stay to the left side or to the right because the effects on the east coast and the effects on -- it would be an historic event on the left and it would be a slightly memorable pre-labor day event on the east but affect labor day activities along the coast because seas and surf will be dangerous even with an east track. >> how accurate are these forecasts, brian? any way that we would miss most
of the damage entirely? are you one of the -- what are the two options, worst case, best case? >> let's take a look at that on our other map. we can show you the worst case scenario. here it is, it stays along the coast, comes over cape hatteras, goes over perhaps eastern long island, up into new england. an historic event here. talking about damage, significant damage, all wait on the east coast, as storms have done in the the past, major hurricane winds, storm surge, flooding those islands, decimating the inland bays and everything around them, boats, the houses and everything else and torrential rain. so that is the worst case. it's not likely, but we can't rule it out, but people have to bear in mind that it is possible. that's the bottom line. >> bryan norcross, thank you. we're going to be staying on top of this, of course, here on the program and throughout the day, throughout the night, the weekend. thanks, brian. tonight, president obama will be marking an important
milestone on iraq when he addresses the nation from the oval office. stephen hadley, bail me out here. you served as the national security adviser in the george w. bush white house, involved in all of the planning for the war, the launch of the war and the worst years of the war. let's talk about the milestone. the president on his way to ft. bliss, texas, today did call president bush. clearly, a courtesy and a briefing. what is the dynamic there, do you think, between president obama, who criticized the surge when he was in the united states senate, and president bush for whom, you know, who launched the surge and the surge frankly is being credited with having brought us to this place finally. >> in some sense, both of them, i think are entitled it a fair amount of credit. it was the surge, a bold, difficult decision by president bush, criticized by many, taken by our diplomats and military on the ground and translated into a real success in bringing down
the violence, resulted in a negotiation of a withdrawal date for forces and long-term relationship with iraq. to his credit president obama has continued to bring the troops home but in a way that is not undermined the success and if he will remain committed, build a long-term relationship with iraq in a political, economic security, he can be a real success for his administration and for the american people. >> not a lot of republicans have been willing to give the president too much credit for this. in fact this is robert gibbs with mika today on "morning joe." >> we've heard a lot about where people were on the surge. i think it would be interesting to hear from some republican leaders where they are on the president's decision to bring more than 90,000 of our men and women out of iraq. that's the decision that we're implementing today. we sure didn't hear from many of them over the past 18 or 19 months, certainly throughout the
campaign about the fact that it was time to end our combat mission in iraq and focus our efforts here at home. >> what about the fact that republicans have john mccain in the "wall street journal" today and others have not been willing to give this president a whole lot of credit. >> one of the reasons, of course, the withdrawal of troops began under president bush in december 2007 and the december 31, 2011 deadline for all troops to come out was said in agreement between president bush and prime minister maliki december 2008. so president obama has respected those agreements. these continued the drawdowns, i think in a responsible way, and i think many republicans give him credit for it. i think, quite frankly, they'd be willing to give him more credit if he was willing to give president bush and republicans a little more credit for having been right about the surge and right about staying with the mission in the dark days of 2005 and 2006. >> we're told, in fact, that the
president in earlier draft, most recent draft of the speech tonight will mention president bush. what do you think he should say about president bush and your record, your administration's record? >> well i think he should acknowledge that the surge was a bold decision and it worked. and i think he should give president bush that. i think he should, and will, give credit to men and women in uniform who took that decision and made it happen on the ground along with the dlpts. we also need to give credit in the end to the iraqi people. they suffered under saddam, they suffered after the invasion, suffered under terror and they have built for themselves a country that is beginning to provide a better life for their people. >> what about the criticisms that, in fact, we would have been much more successful in afghanistan if we had not been, quote, distracted by iraq, that iraq was a war that we went into on the wrong premise, no weapons of mass destruction, and in fact, took away from the primary
goal, which should have been afghanistan? >> i don't think we were distracted. i think we were making great progress in afghanistan through 2005 and 2006, and i think the story of the problems in afghanistan are largely a result of the distraction of pakistan and what happened in pakistan in 2007-2008, as it desended into a political crisis. and that is something that the administration is addressing. we really have a challenge now, we have to stabilize afghanistan, stabilize pakistan and stabilize pakistan to stabilize afghanistan. they were linked together. it's been a long effort and it's going to have to continue in order to achieve our objectives in both countries. >> of course, we don't have time to go into it now, but the devastation in pakistan has undone completely swept away, literally swept away, many of the administration's efforts, two administration efforts, to build on that success. >> a huge setback for the pakistani people.
>> stephen hadley, thank you so much. to be here on an important day, a milesteone for all of us. >> nice to be here. >> joining me, dennis mcdonough, chief of staff of the president's national security council. welcome, thanks so much. first of all, can you share with us what you expect from the speech tonight? we know he's not going to use the phrase "mission accomplished" what will the president be saying tonight? >> andrea, thank you very much for the opportunity to be with you. always good to be here. tonight i think the president will give credit where credit's due, that's with the $1 million troops who have dedicated their lives and many instances to the success of this effort over the last many years. he'll also make clear this obviously fiulfills a commitmen he made to the american people. but also to the iraqi people, as we draw down our security assistan assistance, draw down our air
men, marines, sailors we're dedicated to a diplomatic surge to make sure iraq can have the diplomacy it wants. you'll hear from the president a recognition of the great work our troop have done, a recognition, too that many of iraq's enemies continue to plan to continue the violence that we've seen. but also a recognition to that we have other challenges now, like the one you just discussed with steve hadley, including al qaeda, be they in pakistan or afghanistan or be they in yemen or elsewhere. we're going to continue to take the fight to al qaeda pap that's what this drawdown allows us to, the flexibility to do more of that now. >> what about credit to george w. bush and the surge? >> as you saw, when the president was in ft. bliss, he's going to give credit where the cred credit's due, with the troops. more than 1 million troops have served in iraq. >> beyond the troops -- >> 4400 of them, more than 4,400 have made the ultimate sacrifice for this effort. we're going to give them great
credit as it relates to the politics, i'll let you work on that, as well as you do. but i will say this, the president, both when he talked to president bush before his speech in camp lejeune now, over 18 months ago, i'm sure as he talks with him today, will underscore the president's commitment to making sure that the situation in iraq, after such a horrible start, did not get any worse and obviously, he'll give good credit to the troops, to the surgeon as part of the effort to the fact that the iraqis at a critical point stepped forward and took charge of this. at the end of the day credit goes to the troops and family whose have made tremendous sa sacrifice over time in this effort. >> is the president going to mention president bush in the speech, according to current drafts? >> i'm not going to get into kufr kurn drafts. i think we should hold out for the speech tonight. >> let me play a little bit of robert gibbs and what he had to
say earlier today on the "today" show. >> what is certainly not up for question is the president obama and candidate obama said adding 20,000 troops into iraq would improve the security situation, and it did. >> but now let me show you what the president, when he was a senator said with keith olbermann in 2007 about the surge because he was sharply critical of it. let's watch. >> i'm not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. i think it will do the reverse. i'm going to actively owe oppose the president's proposal. i don't doubt his sincerity but i think he's wrong. >> so barack obama as a senator opposed the surge and the troops that he's acknowledging did make a difference in those later years in the war. >> as you heard the president
say, then-senator obama say the surge alone was not the answer to this but surgeon was a key piece but so was the fact that the iraqis themselves stood up, so was the fact that we saw several developments on the ground there in iraq take charge, including iraqis trying to take caharge of their future. you heard from prime minister maliki this morning in baghdad when he was with vice president biden recognizing this is an important day for iraqis and you've heard from t. from the troops as they've been coming out, including reported on your network two weeks ago when they were very proud, rightly, of the efforts they've taken to give iraqis a chance to take charge of their future. that's the best -- that's exactly what they set out to do. that's a great gift to the iraqi people. frankly, that's exactly what we're trying to do in afghanistan. i hard steve hadley talk about the fact that the surge began to drawdown in late 2007. that's exactly right. it was a time constraint
infusion of dramatically increased resources to ensure that the iraqis took control of their future. we're doing the exact same thing in afghanistan where we're dramatically increasing resources for a time constraint period to ensure that the afghans take control of their future. our troops should be very proud of the efforts that they've undertaken and make sure that happens and that's what the president will point to tonight. >> and, dennis, how concerned are you that this could all fall apart, you have a caretaker government, it's almost six months since the election, and it really is a revival of the sectarian conflicts that is creating the impasse, a closely fought eelection, two seats but not able to resolve ethnic rivalries in order to create a new government. >> i get paid to worry, that's my job, worry about problems. as i listen to people like jim clapper, looking at the trends with al qaeda and iraq over the last several years, as i listen to general odierno, as i listen to our new ambassador on the
ground, i recognize that all of the trend lines are positive. the iraqis are taking control of their future. at great cost and sacrifice by the american people, by our troops and taxpayers and we recognize that extraordinary sacrifice that we've made. so we think that all of the trend lines are positive. we'll continue to worry, bus that's what people pay us to do. but the fact is we think the trend lines are pretty good. >> dennis, let's just say i don't think they pay you enough for all of the worries you've got around the world. thanks for joining us today. >> always good to be with you. if you can get that raise requested, i'd appreciate that very much. >> i'm on it. thanks to you, dennis mcdonough. we look forward to the speech. is iraq ready to take over? we'll be talking to nbc's richard engel and news week's jonathan alter. john zogby, president of the american institute will be joining us. this is "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc.jetblu --
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as president obama prepares to mark the end of america's combat mission in iraq, prime minister al maliki r. is insisting iraqis are ready to take over their security. joining me now, richard engel when has covered the war from before the beginning and jonathan alter, msnbc's political analyst and national affairs columnist for "newsweek" and author of "the promise." richard, you've heard the national security adviser dennis mcdonough and the former adviser stephen hadley, are they ready to take on a caretaker government? >> reporter: the problem is the caretaker government. the iraqi skirt forces are pretty good compared to a few years ago. there were questions that senior
u.s. commanders had whether the iraqi security forces the police, the army, would stand and fight. they don't have those concerns anymore. they do stand, they do fight. the problem is political leadership. there's no one in charge right now. they're not sure who's running the organizations. maliki shouldn't be prime minister today. he didn't win the last election. they've had problems put together a new government. until there's a new government together, the country's really leaderless and rudderless at a time u.s. combat troops are leaving. >> what about afghanistan, jonathan and the president's -- the wretched process we've seen, they are going now have to go through this again in december, they're now going to have more attention focused on that with the change of command. how much pressure does this put on the war in afghanistan? >> a tremendous amount. i mean you have a brewing policy dispute. you can see the outlines of it
in 2009 when they decided on the policy of escalation and a surge in afghanistan. essentially you have the pentagon and hillary clinton on one side, and joe biden and some allies he has in the white house on the other, and in the middle is the president. and the policy question at hand is, will a withdrawal begin in july 2011 as the president outlined at the end of last year? these are dependent on conditions on the ground. that's the loophole. but you have a lot of pressure to begin to get out of afghanistan the way they're getting out of iraq. >> jonathan, the other piece of this, of course, the political side in afghanistan, increasing reports, the firing of the prosecutor, the corruption, and the failure of the investigation, and real friction. the state department completely blindsided by the latest piece of this.
karzai, a big problem -- >> huge. >> -- but the only game in town. >> he's a huge problem he has been all along. in the situation room last year when they were deliberating over, you know what to do in afghanistan, the fact that we do not have a reliable partner there was at the very top of the agenda. there were a lot of people who think that it simply won't work, you know, unless we get better performance out of the afghan government. pretty much every day, as you indicated, brings another story about real political problems there. i don't think the american people are going to want to pump a lot more money into afghanistan, about they get the sense that it's going to be wasted the way so much of it was in iraq. >> richard, you've been on the ground so much in afghanistan and know all of the players so well. what is the outlook for the karzai government ever living up to the challenge that the u.s. needs it to fulfill? >> the problem is that karzai,
people in washington say, he's the only game in town, as you were just saying. he's our game. we created him. he is an american creation. it's not like american troops showed up in afghanistan and he was the local sheriff and we just have to adopt him. we allowed karzai to steal the last election and have therefore been saddled with him. now the same thing could happen easily in iraq. prime minister maliki, the caretaker prime minister, all indications i'm getting are that the united states are trying to find a solution that accommodates here. we're going to have another situation where we're saddled with karzai, a product of our creation in afghanistan who is not delivering and maliki, who won't deliver in iraq. >>ite ronnie there, of course, is that as you know better than anyone, there was so much skepticism of maliki but they think he's the better choice to the other possibilities in iraq.
>> i don't know why they're thinking that but i hear that all of the time and they're trying to create a situation, embassy officials, where everyone's accommodated, where there's something for allow which, for al maliki, they'll end up with a government that's so weak it can't create decisions. >> thank you very much for being with us today. stay with us for live coverage, of course, of president obama's oval office address at 8:00 eastern right here on msnbc. and coming up -- the new york mosque project gains an unlikely defender. the vote count in alaska's senate race. this is "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. help protect you. and v8 juice gives you three of your five daily servings. powerful, right? v8. what's your number? [ animals calling ] ♪ [ pop ] [ man ] ♪ well, we get along ♪ yeah, we really do
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and go to crestor.com to get a free trial offer. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. new yorkers are deeply divided over whether to build the islamic center in lower manhattan. a majority say sponsors have a right to build near ground zero, 3/4 of those polled say sponsors should voluntarily build
elsewhere, thiss as a republican senator joins the debate. glenn thrush joins us now. good to see you. this poll from quinnipiac is an interesting poll because it really indicates the divisions in new york at least. take a look, first, at senator orrin hatch, of all people, joining in and really from his perspective a conservative perspective talking about let's be honest, he said, about it in the first place. the first amendment, religious freedom, religious expression that really express matters to the constitution. so, if the muslims own that property, that private property, and they want to build a moving there, they should have the trite do so. it's an interesting voice to join in, because up until now mike bloomberg has been, though the president spoke out, he then though denies that this is what he was doing, seemed to be moderating it and saying it was up to local choice.
mike bloomberg has been up until now the only clear political figure who has spoken out, very decisively, not only in favor of their right to build it but the wisdom of building it? >> well, hatch, as you know,s a mormon and represents a state with the majority of the population is mormon. and that's a denomination that a lot of christian groups don't recognize as being in the mainstream movement. so, hatch is coming at it it from a point of sensitivity and mormons, as i'm sure you're away faced discrimination throughout the years. it's characteristic with other things hatch has said over the years. >> interesting connection there is that some people have said, some people close to him, have said that mayor bloomberg's connection stems from discrimination against he and his family about being jews in a part of massachusetts, boston, where they couldn't buy property, had to use a real estate agency with a straw name to buy their home as a kid.
that is an interesting question. take a look at the poll, the quinnipiac poll shows a strong majority agree with the right to build but not with the wisdom of building. so it's strongly divisive there still in new york. 71% saying that it should not be built. >> well, i think people are of a divided mind on this. i think there is a strong commitment of religious freedom in the country but people when they get down to particulars are turned off by them putting it up there. mayor bloomberg has said this division between the right and whether or not they should build it is a false distinction and that, you know, the right and building it are exactly the same thing. >> okay. thank you so much. we just received pictures from this video from ft. bliss, texas. the president is there speaking to the troops. thanking them for their service. let's listen. yesterday i was at walter
reed and there are no moments when i feel more keenly and more deeply my responsibilities as commander in chief than during those moments. i know we lost 51 fellow soldiers from here in ft. bliss. a lot more than that were injured, some of them very severely. 1 million men and women in uniform have now served in iraq, and this has been one of our longest wars. but the fact of the matter is that there has not been a single mission that has been assigned to all of you in which you have not performed with gal ent tri, with courage, with excellence. and that is something that the entire country understands there
are times where, in our country, weave got political disagreements, and appropriately we have big debates about war and peace. but the one thing we don't argue about is the fact that we've got the finest fighting force in the history of the world. and the reason we have it is because of the men and women in uniform in every bran. of service who make so many sacrifices, and their families make those sacrifices alongside them. and so the main message i have tonight and the main message i have to you is, congratulations on a job well done. the country appreciates you. i appreciate you. and i -- the most pride i take in my job is being your
commander in chief. it also means that as we transition in iraq, that the one thing i will insist upon for however long i remain president of the united states is that we serve you and your family as well as you've served us. so we spent a lot of time over the last couple of years making sure that we're increasing our support of veterans, that we are making sure that our wounded warriors are cared for, that the signature injuries of our war, like post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury that we are devoting special services there, that we've got a post-9/11 g.i. bill that ensures that you and your family members are able to come back and fully contribute and participate in our economy, that our veterans
are constantly getting the care and honor that they have earned. so that's part of my message to the country. and one of the great things about the last several years has been to see how unified the country is around support of our veterans and of our men and women who are currently serving. now, i know that, as i said at the begin, our task in iraq is not yet completed. our combat phase is over. but we've worked too hard to neglect the continuing work that has to be done by our civilians and by those transitional forces, including some folks who are going to be deploying, i understand, today, and i'm going to be talking to them later. the work that continues is absolutely critical, providing training and assistance to iraqi security forces, because there's
still violence in iraq and they're still learning how to secure their country the way they need to. and they've made enormous strides thanks to the training they've already received but there's still more work to do there. we have to protect civilians, aide workers and diplomats over there still trying to expand and help what's -- what's going to be a long road ahead for the iraqi people in terms of rebuilding their country. we're still going to be going after terrorists in those areas. so our counterterrorism operations are still going to be conducted jointly. but the bottom line is that our combat phase is now over. we are in transition. and that could not have been accomplished had it not been for the men and women here at ft. bliss and across the country. the other thing that i'm going to talk about this evening is that the fact that we obviously still have a very tough fight in
afghanistan and a lot of families have been touched by the war in iraq. a lot of families now being touched in afghanistan. we've seen casualties go up because we're taking the fight to al qaeda and the taliban and their allies. it is going to be a tough slot, but what i know is that after 9/11 this country was unified in saying we are not going to let something like that happen again. and we are going to go after those who perpetrated that crime and make sure they do not have safe haven. now under the command of general petraeus, we have the troops who are there in a position to start taking the fight to the terrorists. and that's going to mean casualties. and it's going to mean heartbreak, but the one thing that i know from all of you is
that when we put our mines to it, we get things done. and we're willing to make some sacrifices on behalf of our security here at home. so to all of you, and to your families, you know, i want to express my deepest gratitude, the gratitude of michelle, the first lady, and our entire family, but also i just want to say thank you on behalf of the country because without you we couldn't enjoy the freedoms and the security that are so precious. and all of you represent that long line of heroes that have served us so well generation after generation. when i was talking to the gold star family there's, there were some widows dating back to world war ii, and then there was a young woman who had just had a baby and had just lost her
husband. and that describes the arc of heroism and sacrifice that's been made by men and women in uniform for so many generations. you're part of that line, part of that tradition, part of that heroism. so what i'd like to do is just to come around and shake all of your hands personally so say thank you to all of you, to say thank you for a job well done, and to know that you are welcome home with open arms from every corner of this country. people could not be prouder of you. and we are grateful. thank you very much, everybody. >> president obama at ft. bliss, thanking the troops, thanking them for their service. an emotional day for many. these are troops who have served in all parts of the war, the
beginning of the what the middle of the civil war, the worst part of it, and the withdrawal. after breaking down nearly two years ago, direct middle east peace talks about get back under way thursday, this time in washington. president obama wants a deal within a year. first he will host key player at a white house dinner tomorrow and meet one-on-one with prime minister netanyahu and president abbas. james zogby joins me here in the studio. great to see you. let's talk about the prospects here. you've got a weak palestinian leader, a palestinian division between the two branchs, between hamas in gaza and fatah in the west bank, ayou know better than anyone, and benjamin netanyahu, a hard line israeli leader who is saying that he will not give up the right to build settlements after the current moratorium, the freeze on settlement construct expires september 26th. talks are going to get under way for the first time in two years but are they going to break apart two weeks later when
settlement construction possibly resumes in. >> you've clearly identified the problems, and there are more that go beyond that. i think, though, it's a really gutsy move for the president. i have to assume, or at least hope very deeply, that he has in his pocket a plan that takes us beyond the breakdown. no doubt, this will reach an impasse. i don't see these two leaders able at this point on their own to come to an agreement, and maybe these two leaders, period, can't come to an agreement. maybe they'll need different leadership around the bend. but the point is the president is committed to this process and believes that if he is to bring them together he will have the conditions where he can intervene at some point with a bridging proposal. that's going to be the point to watch. >> now, there is a wire report that on the eve of these talks a gunman has killed four israelis in the west bank. this would be the worst violence in a year, i think.
it's been a remarkably quiet period from the israeli perspective, so the security concerns have been somewhat diminished. >> quiet from the israeli side but not the palestinian side. palestinians have been dying and the hardships have never ceased despite the fact that some areas prosper, area have paid a deep price for the wall, settlements expanded up until now. the fact they have been deprived of water, power, et cetera, it's a difficult time. the test of mettle of the president will be can he move both leaders despite what provocations ecoccur to stay committed? the secretary of state said i need you guys to come together. in the back of her mind it's that she needs them to come together, spend some time, reach an impasse for george mitch toll begin to propose some bridging ideas. >> does the president need to propose those ideas? does obama have to be personally engaged?
a lot of criticism from the israeli side. he's never been to israel as president. he gave the cairo speech, the istanbul speech. he's going to indonesia, that's been twice delaid. he's reached out to iran. he's not been to israel. that's causing concern. >> i think he'll do that in due time. at this point in time the issue that brought him, first to cairo, i think was the fact that we were in a very desperate strait in the entire muslim world, in particular in the arab world. the hole that he landed in when he took the oath of office in afghanistan, iraq, broader middle east was so deep he needed to make a concerted effort to turn the image of america around. he's created some renewed faith in america. but at this point in time we're in deep trouble in the middle east again because of the peace process. he's committed to moving that forward because he knows that's the key ultimately that will turn our standing in the region
around. >> a quick ten-second answer, can there be a middle east peace agreement without the u.s. eventually jumping in, getting in the middle and banging heads and putting something on the table? >> i do not think so. we're the key ingredient in this. the question is will we be balanced, fair, sensitive to the needs of both sides? we may succeed but it's not certain. >> james zogby, thank you very much. and joining us thursday, as we will be broadcasting live from the state department from start of the middle east peace talks. coming up, republicans gain their biggest lead yet against democrats as president obama delivers his oval office speech tonight. play close attention. the president's office just got a makeover. new paint, new wall paper, new coffee table. the formal sofas replaced with soft brown. the most notable change the rug, featuring the white house seal surrounded by quotes by lincoln,
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a new decision 2010 poll shows that voters are tilting heavily towards republicans in the congressing midterms with the party holding the biggest leader in gallup's ballot. let's bring in chris cillizza. how important is this generic? we don't like to get too trapped in polls but this is a ten-point lead. >> remember, first of all, i agree with you. one poll is one poll, snapshot in side. this is a weekly tracking poll. this isn't one day, this is a week, and it's a trend. ten is the highest republican advantage but they've had three, six, seven-point advantages and they've had the lead for five weeks. it's important not because it means any one congressional district is going from democrat to republican but because the generic ballot has traditionally been used as sort of a
barometer, a way to gauge how strongly the wind is blowing in one direction or the other. and this is historically strong for republicans. i can't emphasize this enough. the highest since 1942 when gallup started testing this question in midterm election. this is anom al lus historically and we have to pay attention to it because of that. >> and there's also a huge enthusiasm gap with the republicans way ahead, 25 points ahead of democrats in the enthusiasm, their eagerness, to go out and vote. >> midterm elections are -- tend to be base versus base, that is democratic base versus the republican base. in 2006 the democratic base was very energized they did not like -- that's too kind a word -- did not like bush, they were ready to vote. 2010, you see the republican base as you mentioned self-identified republicans, 51% likely to vote. self-identified democrat, 26% very likely to vote.
that gap is concerning for any democratic strategist. add it to the generic ballot and you tart to see why smart, political analysts are looking at potential for a wave election on november 2nd. >> let's talk also about alaska and the recounting started at this hour of the absentee ballots, 1688, 1668 votes was the margin going into the absentee count. here is joe miller suggesting that there's been meddling by the republican party on behalf of lisa murkowski. let's watch. >> there are some national types up here in alaska working the election, obviously that concerns us. we have observers on the ground, they're paying close attention to what's go on within the division of elections but we have the utmost confidence in the division. we want to make sure everything's done by the book and there's not meddling. there have been attempts to do things outside of the books and we're filing complaints where
that happens but keeping a close eye on the process. >> is he working the ref here? >> yes. i was -- thank you, you stole my metaphor, but that's fine. that's exactly what he's doing. what happened is the national republican senatorial committee was asked by lisa murkowski to send someone up to alaska to look at ballots. they sent someone up, that person is back. joe miller made allegations about things going on. without any evidence of it. look, they're counting the bat lols now. i think he remains a favorite, though murkowski could win the race here. there's no evidence of shenanigans, certainly that's been provided to me, andrea. >> let's just, for fun, take a look at what happened when alvin green, newcomer to politics, when he went to do a radio interview and they played for him the fun sort of rap sat fire on alvin green. >> here we go. ♪ when i say alvin you say green.
>> did you go. he got some alvin, you say greene. >> showing his stuff during a radio interview, they're certainly showing that he's an interesting candidate. >> this is a guy who's gotten massive amounts of press attention, that frankly no matter who democrats nominated, they weren't going to beat jim demint. he's certainly the best known candidate who has no chance of winning on the ballot this fall. >> and going from alvin green, someone who doesn't have any moves to someone who really has moves. take a look at this opening shot from roger federer. his victim this year, argentina's brian daboo. but now zyrtec®, the fastest 24-hour allergy relief, comes in a liquid gel. zyrtec® liquid gels work fast, so i can love the air®.
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24 hours? with us now bob sclum. you've been a speechwriter for big speeches, what are the stakes tonight for president obama and his speechwriters? >> the last oval office speech on the oil spill didn't go over very well, didn't get very good reviews. but in the end, everything the president said in that speech came true. people are going to be looking at two things tonight, first the atmosphere atmospherics, and he's a president that people can trust. i think on his record he is. tonight people are going to look at him and they're going to make a judgment about how he fits into that historic context. he's always running against his predecessors, from reagan back to kennedy and those are pretty big memories to come up to.
secondly, they're going to be looking at the substance. the president did keep his promise, the combat troops are coming home, but he can't be triumphal. there's a terrible period in iraq that's a total mess. you could have iraq aligned with iran and you could have a slight trek all the way from syria to lebanon. and people are going to be thinking about that other war, about afghanistan and the president come december is going to be able to make some decisions about that. >> and he's going to have to make some reference to the domestic challenges as well, given all that's happening politically. you have the rapidly disappearing bob shrum. >> thank you very much, and i hope he does well tonight and you're right, by the way, his big problem is the economy which overhangs everything else that he does, the republican strategy of no worked. >> we'll take it from there,
thank you very much, bob, see you soon. and florence henderson, bristol palin, dirty dancings jennifer gray, that i'ey're all the next season of dancing with the stars, our pick of course, jennifer gray, because after all, no one putting baby in the corner. that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." thomas roberts is up next. v8 v-fusion juice gives them a full serving of vegetables plus a full serving of fruit. but it just tastes like fruit. v8. what's your number? [ female announcer ] kids who don't eat breakfast may not be getting the nutrition they need to keep their bodies strong. ♪ a nutritious start to the day is essential. that's w carnation instant breakfast essentials supplies the nutrients of a balanced breakfast.
no oil has flowed into the gulf for weeks, but it's just the beginning of our work. i'm iris cross. bp has taken full responsibility for the clean up in the gulf and that includes keeping you informed. my job is to listen to the shrimpers and fishermen, hotel and restaurant workers and find ways to help. i was born in new orleans. my family still lives here. bp is gonna be here until the oil is gone and the people and businesses are back to normal... until we make this right.
i'm thomas roberts, tamron hall is on assignment. right now on msnbc, we're keeping a very close eye on hurricane earl. the category 4 storm is barreling toward the u.s. coast. and there are warnings all the from north carolina all the way up to maine. president obama is just hours away from addressing the nation tonight announcing the formal end of the u.s.